Cave Tour Alert!
White Nose Syndrome is a disease that is killing bats in great numbers and has been found in park caves. While visiting Gap Cave please do not wear or bring anything that has been in other caves. Skylight Cave is currently closed.
Cumberland Gap Tip Line
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Photo by Scott Teodorski
Extending from 1100 to 3500 feet above sea level and across various habitat types, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park supports a rather diverse animal assemblage. The current recorded number of animals is 371 but many more could be added with additional study, which we expect the Inventory and Monitoring Program to provide.
The less obvious or easily observed animals such as insects probably exist in far greater numbers than we have identified at this time. We do have documentation for: 33 mammals, 89 birds, 29 amphibians, 15 reptiles, 27 fish, and 178 insects.
Animals that a visitor could expect to see include cottontail rabbit, gray squirrel, opossum, striped skunk, bobcat, white-tailed deer, raccoon, gray fox, black bear, various bats, song birds, wild turkey, hawks and vultures, snakes, turtles, and, perhaps, an elk.
The autumn hawk migration is usually spectacular and can be observed from numerous vantage points along the Ridge Trail and especially from the Pinnacle overlook.
The most dangerous animal in the Park is probably the tick because of the diseases it can transmit. Proper deference should be shown to venomous snakes and bears as well.
Did You Know?
Kentucky’s Historian Laureate, Dr. Thomas Clark, listed Cumberland Gap as #1 in his list of 11 sites that every Kentuckian should visit. (Dr. Clark passed away on July 28th, 2005… just two weeks short of his 102nd birthday!)